There have been many patches in the past two years that have slowly phased Top Lane into the least queued role.
Top Lane has a much smaller impact on the outcome of games when compared to any other role. The issue has grown over the past few years from three main sources:
- Excessive wave clear from Mid Laners
- Supports becoming overpowered
- Importance of First Tower Gold
Excessive Wave Clear from Mid Laners
It’s no secret that champions like Taliyah, Ryze, Azir etc. have seen tons of priority as of late. Even back in Season Seven, the champions with more than 40 percent presence in competitive play were LeBlanc, Syndra, Orianna, and Taliyah.
Now what does mid lane have to do with top lane? “Four man dives” down bot lane are more common than ever. The reason Mid Laners rarely rotate top is because snowballing bot lane is vastly more advantageous.
Pulling off a four man dive bot lane leads to:
- First Tower Gold bonus
- First or Second Dragon
- An ADC and Support who are now ahead of their counterparts
- An ADC and Support who will now rotate top or mid to push their advantage
On the other hand, diving top lane and getting first tower does get your top laner ahead. However, if he continues to push to a tier 2 tower he is now overextended on the map and can very easily lose his lead. He also does not have the luxury to lane swap bot lane.
Supports Becoming Overpowered
Support items have been strong for a very long time, but were not over tuned until Patch 7.9. It’s the reason why you had Junglers taking Spelltheif’s Edge, ADCs starting with Targon’s Brace in the beginning of Season Eight, and Supports who were able to abuse Ancient Coin becoming over powered back in Season Seven (Fuck you Janna).
How do Supports impact Top Lane?
Supports have become Secondary carries. Their gold income per game is near that of actual carries, thus making their impact on the game much greater than before. Junglers and Mid Laners have a much bigger incentive to snowball two high-impact roles rather than just one.
Importance of First Tower Gold
Yes, First Tower Gold is a huge advantage for any player that has the luxury to receive it, but why is it more advantageous on a ADC rather than a Top Laner? Three words. Item. Power. Spikes.
For an ADC to reach their three item power spikes they need 8,800 Gold (Double Zeal Item/Infinity Edge). How much does a Top Laner need? 9,933 Gold. (Trinity Force/Titanic Hydra/Sterak’s Gage)
Giving an ADC first tower gold in much more beneficial because they two/three item power spike much quicker than Top Laners do and are overall much more effective in mid game team fights.
It’s no wonder no one wants to play top lane; even if you were to win top lane, the outcome of the game is in bot lane’s hands, where Jungle and Mid Lane are forced to spoon feed the ADC.